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General Writing and Grammar Help/Possessive apostrophe & professional credentials


What is the appropriate punctuation when a professional/academic credential falls between the possessor's name and the noun representing the object that is possessed?

Joe Smith, MD's book......

Joe Smith, MD's book....

Joe Smith (MD)'s book...


Are parentheses appropriate? Should a comma intervene between the surname and the credential in this case--or a pair a commas setting off the credential?



My immediate solution would be to use: Dr. Joe Smith's book.

But if you're looking to stay with MD, numbers and abbreviations that previously used apostrophes for the plural (the 60's, local MD's) the common practice, now particularly in online writing, is to use the simple "s" (the 60s, local MDs), thus Joe Smith, MDs book....

Jerry Leone

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Jerry Leone


I`ve taught writing or some aspect of the English language for nearly 35 years. I can answer nearly any question on grammar, usage or meanings of words above dictionary usage. An avid crossword fan and writer, I can also answer questions about business presentations and resumes.


I have worked with words all my life as a teacher of the language and as an amateur and professional writer. Communication is a vital force in my life and everyone else's.

Sigma Delta Chi, NY Press Association, NY Publishers Association

BA in English from the University of Buffalo, MEd in English from SUNY Buffalo, MA in English Literature from SUNY Buffalo. Course work in Journalism from Syracuse Univ., in Linguistics from Rutgers Univ. and Journalism from Univ. of Texas and Ohio Univesrity.

Awards and Honors
Chancellor's Award for Excellence Teaching SUNY, Distinguished Teaching Award SUNY Morrisville, Who's Who in American Journalism Education

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